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Meet the first Gerber baby with Down syndrome

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The Gerber baby has been a mainstay of American advertising for 90 years. The image is widely recognizable, even to consumers who aren’t actively buying baby food. Even when the company began rotating real children into their advertisements, there was always some consistency in the chosen children. That is about to change.

“The 2018 Gerber baby is Lucas Warren,” Today writes, “a 1-year-old from Dalton, Georgia who is the first child with Down syndrome to be named a Gerber baby since the contest’s start in 2010.”

“He’s very outgoing and never meets a stranger,” Lucas’s mom, Cortney, told TODAY. “He loves to play, loves to laugh and loves to make other people laugh.”

Cortney Warren entered the contest by posting Lucas’s picture on Instagram with the contest’s hashtag.

There were more than 140,000 entries, and Lucas won. He is now the 2018 Gerber Spokesbaby.

“Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby,” said Bill Partyka, CEO and president of Gerber. “This year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”

“We’re hoping this will impact everyone — that it will shed a little bit of light on the special needs community and help more individuals with special needs be accepted and not limited,” Lucas’s dad, Jason Warren, said. “They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.”

“Katie Driscoll is founder and president of Changing the Face of Beauty,” Today notes, “a non-profit organization committed to advocating for equal representation of people with disabilities in adverting and media.”

“We believe if brands represent children with a disability, they are communicating their value to our society,” Driscoll told Today. “Moves like this move us closer to a more inclusive world.”

“He may have Down syndrome, but he’s always Lucas first,” said Cortney. “He’s got an awesome personality and he goes through the milestones of every child… we’re hoping when he grows up and looks back on this, he’ll be proud of himself and not ashamed of his disability.”